Monday, February 18, 2008

Kosovo’s Problem: Frank Zappa is Dead

By Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network, 2/18/08

Issues of time lag were written about best perhaps by Kafka, who came from the darkest place and lived in the shadow of the castle. Kafka’s characters want to bring back the ancient time – the torturer in the short story In the Penal Colony, Wilhelm II and George Bush – when time has passed them by. France, living in its own shadow, has a tendency. It finally gets onto the rising Ronald Reagan era – building big, useless Airbus planes that nobody wants and electing Sarko – just as the Reagan Era has fallen into twilight.

But Kafka would find a true home in Kosovo. The region is vortex to Europe’s Four Grandfathers: Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox and Islam. And ancestral Jews as well. And they all hate each other.

But I blame the trouble today on Frank Zappa. He trumped the Black Madonna and even Joseph Stalin’s dark charm.

Youth wants to know: Who the hell is Frank Zappa? Just another God that Failed; a charming and witty troubadour who once compared his masculine aspect – which Canadians call a tool – with a Harley-Davidson (“ . . . you kick it to start.”).

They were called Velvet Revolutionaries and other things elegant and fey for a place where neighbors stoned each other to death. But they listened to Frank Zappa and Lou Reed who was even hipper and they were the darlings of an age that was unbearably light. They were featured on NPR and championed by the English Department. When the ancient regimes on the edge of Russia were suddenly cut loose from Stalin’s post-war grip, it was widely thought to be because of Frank Zappa.

To recall the first wave, there was a rush of entrepreneurs from Europe and America sent in to get them on track. What they wanted, it was said, was not Trotsky and Lenin. They wanted America. And not just Jefferson and Lincoln. They wanted Michael Jackson and Calvin Klein.

The neocon model – Gingrich and McCain’s current advisers Kaplan and Kristol - - appeared to make sense. There were a lot of Poles, Czechs, Serbs, Latvians and what not in America, no? Let’s hook up with them. Forget the Chinese hordes. This would be the basis of a new American global empire; the Project for a New American Century. The new diplomatic dogma had a simple plan; it was that we, the Americans, would find a dissident in every desert and swamp in the world that had one and send in the troops. Now that the Iron Curtain had fallen, there were a whole group of them over near Austria somewhere.

And these places would become American pseudo-states like Guam and Puerto Rico; Poland, Czech Republic and hey, all of Islam. But some of the less big visionaries; the poets, weaklings, pig dogs, even some at the NYTs – reflected modestly that to actually hold territory one needed more than an Air Force. One needed soldiers, and to hold a bunch of territory one needed proletariat. You couldn’t fight these global wars with undocumented Mexican day workers. And the U.S. had no proletariat.

Not a problem. It was actually suggested; it was actually imagined by these people, that India could supply a few million of its extra hordes and fight for Frank, Michael and Cal, much as the Gurkhas fought for England. All you had to do was throw those sissy French manboys off the Security Council and put India there. This was a plan.

Congress really got into it (it was the end of time, one Pentagon bodhisattva proclaimed). In 1996, everyone in the world wanted to be an American and George Soros, a rich guy, made the point that everyone in the world was a kind of American; everyone was a kind of an American by different degree. So Clinton took the Gingrich playbook and adopted Kosovo’s fledgling liberation movement. Bombing the beast chilled it for awhile and NATO – Don Cherry’s Euro-wimps – was sent in to keep the peace. But today, Peter Finn of the Washington Post reports that their only job is guarding things like Serb monasteries which are now surrounded by massive new walls to shield elderly nuns from being stoned to death by passing ethnic Albanians.

Youth wants to know: Who’s Newt Gingrich?

Kind of made you wonder, in a land where Orthodox Christians have traditionally hated Jews and Muslins have hated Christians and visa versa; indeed, where everyone hates one another, how long Frank Zappa, Cal Klein and Michael Jackson would hold on as god-kings. Soon, all the Frank Zappa guys might be stoning the Michael Jackson guys.

In Kosovo today they are waving American flags. They are yelling, “We love you Bill Clinton.” It was indeed Clinton and Al Gore who, when the Soviets fell, pressed into Holy Roman Empire and promised to line the edge of Russia with nuclear weapons. It was called “a mistake of historic proportions,” by George Kennan and the best foreign policy minds of the day. Even Jesse Helms, my old Senator in North Carolina, had to ask if America was willing to commit troops, alienate Russia and start a new round of nuclear proliferation for such small and relatively insignificant stakes.

Much as they cited Zappa as the true revolution, he was only, in the end, a modest comedian. And these were not really revolutions. In a revolution, the mice kill the cat and take over. Here, the cat simply died.

But like that charming children’s song from Sesame Street, the cat came back. And today the dollar is crashing while the ruble is soaring. And from then to now the same neocon playbook that sent NATO to Russia’s edge has sunk into the sand in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the late ‘90s in Kosovo, America challenged Russia, advancing the geopolitical playbook written at Yalta to the peak of its vision. Kosovo today is either an end-game of Yalta or the beginning of World War III.

I think the first. I doubt the neocons will be able to egg on loyal and decent Southern Baptists to fight another war for them as they did in Iraq. It worked in the Middle East because there was that Armageddon thing; there was the git Saddam thing which played big in my old neighborhood back in Tobaccoville, NC; there was that jump start the Second Coming of Christ in the Holy Land thing and there was 9/11. It might well have been much of it a millennialist fever; an end-of-the-world delusion like those which classically occur at the end of thousand-year periods; a Jonestown in big, and 75% of the American drank the kool-aid.

But, outside the Pole, Czech, and other lobbyists and their agents in Congress, the specifics don’t really hold much of a grip on the broader American imagination on its wandering path. I think it was Chris, the young hood in Tony Soprano’s gang, who showed a kind of diffident interest when Czechs started coming to New Jersey at the fall of communism. Like most new immigrant groups, they formed their own economic under-culture and one of them, Emile (who Chris called “E-mail”), wanted to join Tony’s gang. He graciously explained how Czechs had just risen up in revolution and cast off the Soviet boot. Chris asked: “What’s a Czech? That’s a kind of Polak, right?”

Somebody tell them in Kosovo: Bill Clinton is no longer the President. Frank Zappa is dead.


Anonymous said...

It's tic for tat and Putin will not miss a beat. Clearly it is the end of the empire for Uncle Sam. Now the question is how long are americans going to tolerate these Assholes!
Oh and by the way, Obama is part of the same NWO garbage so only Ron Paul will do!

Anonymous said...